AIDS Prevention and Control - a holistic approach
Having witnessed the process in which medical practices are shifting from the traditional biomedical mode to a social medical mode, Amity realizes that HIV/ AIDS prevention is not only a medical problem. Public health involves social, economic, cultural and psychological factors. Thus, activities focused on one aspect can only meet the single need of a particular group in a specific time.
In many remote rural areas where HIV/AIDS is prevalent, if the activity only focuses on one aspect, it is far from solving local underlying problems and risks the project’s sustainability. Take the publicity on HIV/AIDS prevention for example: under the guidance of KAP theory (i.e. knowledge, attitude and practice), the Chinese government as well as NGOs have carried out numerous activities, however, few changes in people’s behaviour have been observed.
Based on comprehensive development projects in target villages, Amity started to explore community based HIV/AIDS comprehensive prevention projects in 2006. Amity focuses on three factors that affect health behaviour, namely propensity factor, contributing factor and strengthening factor. The purpose of Amity’s exploration of community based HIV/AIDS prevention is to mobilize all the resources of a community to establish an HIV/AIDS comprehensive prevention system.
The Amity Foundation was one of the early non-governmental organizations to start programs focused on the prevention of AIDS in China. In the mid-90s, the Amity Foundation started focusing on AIDS groups and started research work in Yunnan Province. In 1996, the Amity Foundation officially launched an AIDS Prevention and Control Project in Yunnan. The project activities covered 13 provinces, including Henan, Yunnan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Anhui, Jiangsu, Hunan, Sichuan, Chongqing, Inner Mongolia, Guangzhou, Hainan, and Hebei.
Long-term running, wide area covering and capacity building - providing sustainable development
Among them, the projects in Yunnan, Henan and Hunan provinces were long term and covered a wide area. Additionally, the projects included not only training for AIDS prevention, but also included aspects such as setting up initial screening labs, training medical staff, AIDS home care, training for the self-help of AIDS-affected families and community governance.
Amity Foundation actively co-operates with the government, churches, and civil groups. In these groups the Amity Foundation conducts the training of community educators and target groups, striving to increase public awareness. Amity Foundation works together with village clinics to provide HIV testing and medical support. According to incomplete statistics, the Amity Foundation set up a total of 28 "Amity Medicine Boxes" in villages in Yunnan, Hunan and Henan to provide drugs for the treatment of opportunistic infections.
Timeline, way of implementation and execution - to serve as a model
- First, save the Children and families affected by AIDS.
The Amity Foundation provides aid to the children affected by AIDS on living and study, as well as their psychology. Secondly, visit the families affected by AIDS. To help them get out of the shadow of the stigma of AIDS, Amity organized some of its Henan and Yunnan partners to do routine visits and sympathy calls, so that they can feel the care from society, and reduce their psychological burden, as well as improving their quality of life. In addition to that, the church's co-workers also actively raise money to help AIDS affected families.
- Secondly, home care for AIDS patients.
The project's overall objective is to improve AIDS home care, and to increase the self-development capability of families affected by AIDS. The first step is to set up the self-protection group among the groups most vulnerable to AIDS. Next is to mobilize the government's primary health care system.
- Third, begin self-help production.
Since 2004, Amity has organized programs to carry out self-help production activities so as to assist AIDS-affected families get out of poverty, increase self-confidence, and eliminate social discrimination. Each AIDS farmer family received loans of RMB 1000 to 5000 for a period of one to three years. In coordination with local partners, they may transfer their own products to those non-funded AIDS-affected families, or return the loan in cash. By the end of 2012, Amity has funded around 1,110 AIDS affected families, helping them to develop livestock breeding and increase their income.
- Fourth, establish a community-based comprehensive AIDS prevention model.
Amity introduced the concept of integrated community services, combined with AIDS prevention together with community development, and designed the community based comprehensive AIDS prevention model. So far, Amity has carried out comprehensive prevention and control of AIDS community projects in Longchuan, Cangyuan and Menglian of Yunnan Province, and Hengyang of Hunan Province. The project activities include the establishment of community self-help groups, medical support, village health workers’ training, health literacy, agricultural technology, agricultural infrastructure, and basic education facilities.